US may expand training of Iraq military advisers

2014-10-22 14:09
US President Barack Obama. (Saul Loeb, AFP)

US President Barack Obama. (Saul Loeb, AFP)

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Washington - Any Iraqi request for more American military advisers or trainers to help the country's security forces fight Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants would be considered, senior US officials said on Tuesday.

The issue was discussed in meetings that deputy White House national security adviser Antony Blinken and other US officials had with top Iraqi officials last week on a trip to Baghdad and other parts of the country.

The United States has about 1 400 military advisers and diplomatic security personnel in Iraq. Senior administration officials said that, based on discussions with the Iraqis, US officials are looking at where advisers can be helpful, and whether there is more they can do in terms of training.

No specific requests for more advisers have been made, but any would be considered on a case-by-case basis, the officials said.

Iraq is not requesting American ground forces and, in any event, President Barack Obama would not send them. Any military advisers sent there would be limited to providing advice and assistance to the Iraqis doing the fighting, they said.

A US-led coalition has launched dozens of air strikes in Iraq and Syria to try to push back advances by ISIS militants who operate from a safe haven in Syria and have control over large sections of Iraq.

The officials said the campaign against ISIS in Iraq is likely to take months, well into next year, and that it would take that much time to take back key areas such as the city of Mosul or Iraq's Anbar province.

As for ISIS's advances against Baghdad itself, the officials said the militants have been pushed back and would not be able to take the Iraqi capital.

Read more on:    isis  |  iraq  |  us  |  syria  |  security

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